Let’s get one thing straight, if you are at home raising children then you’re already a ‘work-at-home parent’. If you want to extend that role to making money from home, others should bow to your ambition because it isn’t easy. It’s certainly possible, however, and I know that from experience. From the time my son was one year old, I’ve run home-based businesses both full-time and part-time. He has since grown into a fine young man, and I’m still a relatively sane work-at-home Mom.
A few of my Canadian home-based businesses:
- The first licensed day-home north of Yellowknife, Canada
- Product development & formulation (Pet care products)
- Specialized Virtual Assistant
- Website & graphics design
- Affiliate marketing and management
- Online community management (groups, social media, etc.)
- Freelance writing
Operating a home-based business when you have children isn’t the relaxed lifestyle some make it out to be. You’ll get more time with the kids, but there will be days that you wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to go back to work outside the home. It’s stressful to get work done and the pressure to make a decent amount of money can be overwhelming.
Then there’s the parental guilt. Are you spending too much time working? Should you feel this frustrated when the kids need something while you’re trying to work?
It’s enough to drive you back into the workforce, but there are ways to ensure your home-based business doesn’t take a mental toll.
Home-Based Business Tips for Work-At-Home Moms and Dads
- The most important part of making it work, especially with very young children, is to let it happen when it can. Otherwise, if you decide to work for four hours/day on your home-based business and your child starts teething or something else interferes, you’ll get frustrated. Remember your primary job is taking care of your children and the business is something to do in your spare time. If the business demands commitment on the clock and it’s in the budget, use childcare services for a few hours. Don’t sacrifice your own rest or mental well-being by putting pressure on yourself.
- Once the kids are in school, you can get more serious about your home business. You’ll still have household chores to attend to and other things will come up, so start slow by committing to a couple of hours at a time during which you are most alert.
- Keep a list of things you want to do when you may be distracted or interrupted, such as short tasks or research.
- Keep another list of ideas. When a bright idea hits you in the middle of making lunch, write it down so you don’t forget and can implement it when you have more time. I’ve had dozens of those ‘Little Fat Notebooks’ over the years, with a master list on my PC.
- Organize your learning. Blogs are a fantastic learning tool but it’s easy to miss crucial information. Many books, eBooks and online courses will guide you through everything you need to know to be a success. Pack up the kids and head to your local library to get started.
- Teach yourself what you need to know if money is tight. Even if your business doesn’t work out, you’ll have a new set of skills for when you go back to work. If you don’t have time to focus on learning and the budget allows it, hire people so your time can be spent on tasks that require your attention.
- Keep both your office and home as organized as possible. I learned (and continue to learn) this one the hard way.
- It’s tough to get the rest of the family to take you seriously, especially if you’re not yet making a lot of money. Talk about your business and mental health, explaining why they still need to help around the house.
- Teach your children to amuse themselves. If you leap into action every time they demand it, you’re not teaching them how to survive in the real world… and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
- Take care of you. Get out by yourself, take a long, uninterrupted bath, go for a walk or to the library alone. Whatever it is, make it all about you for at least a couple of hours each week. This point is especially crucial during Canada’s long, dreary Winters.
Some of the best home business opportunities for parents can be found online. The Internet can accommodate erratic schedules and online businesses don’t have to involve commitments to other people. Here are Six Online Side Hustles that are Perfect for Parents.
Discuss this and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
10 Low-Cost Side Businesses you can Start Online from Home
11 Unexpected Ways You Can Make Money From Blogging
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.